Benevolence Farm Documentary Project is a series of multimedia portraits of formerly incarcerated women in North Carolina. Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the United States. Their experiences demonstrate the need for a multifaceted approach to prison reform and post-incarceration support: an overwhelming majority are survivors of sexual abuse, suffer from substance abuse, and are unmarried mothers of minor children. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Benevolence Farm, a transitional living program for women leaving prison based on a working farm in North Carolina.

Maggie Smith is studying photography and audio at the Center for Documentary Studies, and she was hired as CDS’s first publishing intern in 2010. She has taught photography workshops to children of migrant workers in Thailand and at a public middle school in Durham. Currently, she is working on the Benevolence Farm Documentary Project and has been traveling across the state for the past year recording the stories of women who are in prison and transitioning out of prison.

This was the final project for the Certificate in Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. See more Spring 2013 final projects at cdsporch.org/archives/18602.

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